Students learn about nanotechnology at Northwest Vista College in San Antonio.


High school students and teachers are learning about the world of nanotechnology, known as the science of big ideas at a nano (smallest) scale. The free summer workshops, held at Northwest Vista College in early June, was paid for by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

The goal of the two workshops — one for students and one for teachers — is to generate early interest in the field and strengthen teacher knowledge in science. Students and teachers learned about how companies are using nanotechnology to waterproof building materials, incorporate nanotechnology into body armor for the military, and how the science is being used to make flexible TV screens.

Industry experts are teaching students about the wide use of nanotechnology in numerous fields, and promoting career opportunities in STEM professions. The workshops are conducted in collaboration with Northwest Vista College, a grant from the National Science Foundation, Penn State University’s NACK Network, and MatEdU. To see video footage of what students did, visit this link.

The global nanotechnology market is expected to reach $90.5 billion by 2021, a growth of over $50 billion since 2016, according to BCC Research. This figure includes well-established commercial nanomaterials applications such as nanoparticle-based sunscreen products and new technologies such as nano-thin film solar cells. Northwest Vista has several programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) and is working towards expanding opportunities for female students and those of minority backgrounds.

For the last decade, NVC has been one of a handful of community colleges in the U.S. to offer an associate degree in nanotechnology, now called Advanced Materials Technology. Graduates of the program have earned internships and presented at conferences typically reserved for graduate students.

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